May 17, 2016
Mistakes Made in Blood Glucose Testing
I admit that I can make mistakes, but I don't understand some of the mistakes I see other people make. Yes, I occasionally forget to wash my hands after handling food, but when I see the reading, I know it is not correct. I stop, wash my hands, paying extra attention to the finger I will be using, then dry my hands carefully. Then when I retest, I see the reading near what I was expecting and know the correct amount of insulin to inject. It is probably because of the insulin that I am more careful not to make as many mistakes.
Allen has lost a friend because he did not care to do his testing correctly and sometimes not at all. So when Allen called me to meet him at the restaurant that we frequent as soon as possible, I went. When I arrived, he was seated at a table and carefully pointed out the fellow sitting at a window table. The fellow had dumped out a vial of test strips onto a less than clean table and was testing. He picked up his lancing device and pricked his finger. Then he dug his meter out of his pocket, inserted a test strip, and pushed it into the blood.
When the reading came up, he shook his head and removed the test strip. Allen said that he had followed the fellow into the parking lot and seen him remove the vial of test strips from the dash and the same with the meter and shove the meter into his pocket. Allen said he had his testing equipment with him and we should move to the table where this fellow was sitting. I said I would join them after getting an ice cream cone.
When I arrived at the table, Allen was telling the fellow that he should wash his hands with soap and water and when he returned he would test his blood glucose. When the fellow left, Allen started gathering up the test strips and left four on the table. They had been in water on the table, had absorbed water into the strip, and would no longer be useful.
When the fellow returned, Allen took one of his test strips out and inserted it into his meter. The fellow lanced the place he wanted tested and after blood was available, Allen inserted the test strip into the blood. In a few seconds, the reading was 111 mg/dl. The fellow said that looks correct. I said that he would never receive this reading from the test strips he was using and the four still on the table would give him an error message. We both could see the puzzled look the fellow was giving us.
He pulled his meter back out of his pocket, picked up one of the test strips, and inserted it. I don't remember the message number, but Allen said this was because when he dumped out the vial onto the table, they had absorbed water that was on the table. Some of the others may have slid through the water as well ruining them. Allen said that the number of strips you used figures about 15 dollars and the rest in that vial is probably another 40 dollars and they will not give you reliable results because you dumped them on the table and exposed them to sunlight and water that may contain food particles, which can cause them to give erroneous readings. In addition, he had them and your meter on the car dash in direct sunlight, which caused them to heat up. The meter you stuffed in you pocket and it probably picked up lint and will cause errors when used.
I picked up Allen's testing pouch and said he keeps everything in here and out of the sunlight. If he is out in the rain, he has a waterproof pouch to carry this in. When he tests like he did on you, he only removes one test strip and uses it within 30 seconds to obtain an accurate reading. We do not pretend that lint can't get in the meter, but we work to prevent this and carry our testing supplies in the case they come with to prevent loss from sunlight and heat.
I asked where he stored his test strips at home and he said in the bathroom. Allen said he would accompany him to his home if he would allow this and show him where to store the test strips and if the air conditioner failed like mine has, how to protect them in a cooler and use a cold pack. The fellow said you would do this. Allen answered we always help when we can.
The fellow said he would like to have something to eat before they went anyplace. Allen said okay, and I left to go home. Allen called later and thanked me as he felt we had helped the fellow. He would continue to work with him and see how he was doing.